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Marcella Cucina

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1997

  • About
Is there anything, I wonder, that Italian cooks don’t know about working with vegetables? Not a single procedure in the full repertory of cooking techniques has been overlooked in preparing vegetables for the Italian table. They can be blanched, boiled, fried, baked, gratinéed, grilled, stewed, sautéed in olive oil or in butter with garlic or onion or with both, stuffed, made into pies, used as wrappers, cooked singly, or mixed with several others.

Vegetables can animate every course of an Italian menu short of dessert. Their flavors, their textures, their seasonal accents bring variety to soups, pasta sauces, risotti, and meat dishes beyond counting. They may constitute a full course of their own that shares importance with, or even replaces, the meat or fish course. At an Italian meal, vegetables are not just dutifully tacked on as an afterthought. They are, if anything, a before thought.